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peace

Why Is This So Hard - Unfulfilled Expectations

It Is Not Supposed To Be This Way

Unfulfilled expectations can lead to disappointment and disillusionment. Focusing on the thoughts, “it is not supposed to be this way” or “it shouldn’t be this hard” bring pain. All relationships in some ways fail to meet expectations. Most couples at some point reach a “commitment remorse” stage in their relationship, where they start to wonder, “What have I got myself into?”

Acceptance
Acceptance

Maybe there is too much fighting. Maybe that sense of closeness is gone. Maybe resentment has been building. Maybe there is a lack of respect. Maybe they have had thoughts like, “I love you, but I am not in love with you any more”. Maybe a co-worker is starting to look more appealing than they should.

Taking the stance that it is not supposed to be this way, leads to resistance and fighting. We can end up throwing blame, justifying bad behavior and feeling like a victim. Acceptance of what is and gratitude for the experience brings us peace. We are more able to focus on what is my part and what could I do to help make things better.

Expectations put the neediness in dreams. When I have a vision, hope or dream for my life, it can help pull me forward. When I get sidetracked with ideas like: I should already be there, what is wrong with me? My partner should be more attentive or less pushy, what is wrong with them? We should be seeing eye-to-eye, what is wrong with us? then I find more and more reasons to be dissatisfied. When I start adding the shoulds, I lose sight of my vision in the judgments and criticism.

We can become completely dissatisfied with our life if we keep telling our self that it is not supposed to be this way. We can start to focus too much on that feeling of lack and worry too much about what am I getting out of this relationship. The more we focus on what is lacking the less we feel love toward our partner. Those feelings of love can return when we turn our focus to loving our partner, rather than feeling unloved by them. Joseph Goldstein said, “You can’t stop the wave, but you can learn to surf.” Acceptance can allow us to learn to surf in our relationship, rising above the challenges and difficulties. Rather than feeling like we are drowning as the waves pummel us. Acceptance does not mean that there is no need for change. It does mean that there is no energy wasted on grumbling about how things are not as expected.

The greatest gift that you can offer yourself and your partner is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance. Offer it first to yourself and you will be better able to offer it to your partner.

Finding Peace

Peace in our relationships begins with us. We can have peace even in the most trying times. We will fail to find peace when we try to achieve it by arranging people or things outside of ourselves. When we have peace and calm in our hearts, when we are at peace with ourselves then we will have the reserves we need to make peace in our relationships. Peace is an inside job.

There was once a king who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The king looked at all the pictures. But there were only two he really liked, and he had to choose between them.

One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.

The other picture had mountains, too. But, these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all. But, when the king looked closely, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest - - in perfect peace.

Which picture do you think won the prize? The king chose the second one. “because” said the king, “Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in you heart.”